How A Bogus Claim About Medicaid Made It Into The Los Angeles Times With No Pushback

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It seems that even Pulitzer Prize-winning columnists can get away without fact-checking these days. Or such is the impression after reading Michael Hiltzik’s June 26 column in the Los Angeles Times.

Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on June 25 to discuss congressional efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Domenech noted that after Ohio expanded Medicaid to more than 725,000 able-bodied adults under Obamacare, it rolled back eligibility for some 34,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities as a cost-cutting measure.

Hiltzik apparently found these facts inconvenient and spent the better part of his 1,500-word column trying to factcheck them. His conclusion? “No disabled persons were ‘thrown off’ Medicaid.” But Hiltzik is wrong. The reality: Ohio eliminated an entire eligibility category for more than 34,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Here’s how the Ohio Office of Health Transformation described the change: “There will be some individuals who could have qualified for Medicaid under spend down who now do not qualify based on the new 1634 eligibility criteria.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s fiscal year 2016 budget initially explained that “22,000 disabled Ohioans not in institutions or on HCBS waivers will no longer qualify for Medicaid.” The Ohio Office of Health Transformation increased those estimates to 34,050 individuals, based on information in the Client Registry Information System.